Alsos Syngrou, Maroussi, Sunday 4 March

Our walk of Sunday 4 March starts at 12:00 noon. We walk in Alsos Syngrou. This is an easy to reach large park in the area between Maroussi and Kifissia. You may reach it from Leoforos (avenue) Kifissias. The walk is easy, on level ground, will take up about 75 minutes, will go ahead even in light rain and will be led by Barbara. If you need to call, Barbara’s mobile is 6936368149.

About Alsos Syngrou and the walk: The park has a rich network of dirt roads and narrow paths, offering a new experience each time, even for regular visitors. We will just weave in and around the different paths, some surfaced, some narrow footpaths, between fruit trees, vines, pine trees and cistus. Syngrou Park is best described as an area of unspoiled countryside where people can forget for a while that they are near the center of the capital city.  The 97 hectare estate was bequeathed to the city more than 80 years ago by Iphigenia Syngrou for the purpose of “training good farmers and gardeners”, with the condition that no roads should be built within the area. The main building, which later became Anavryta School, was the mansion of Andreas Syngros, a successful and wealthy businessman.  Within the complex there is also a small open-air theatre and a Gothic church (recently renovated). The stables of the original estate are also still standing. Some buildings have been renovated and now house the Ministry of Agriculture Institute of Botanical Studies. The Anavryta School was closely linked with the royal family but the only King of Greece who graduated from the school was Constantine II in 1955.  Following the years of the Junta, the school lost its exclusive character but remained a school with a solid reputation for academic excellence, which it is gradually losing, after it was prohibited from setting any kind of admission standards and requirements, in 1992. The estate is open to the public from dawn to dusk and is much appreciated by walkers, with or without dogs, parents with or without children/kites, runners, cyclists, football teams in training, and occasionally Boy Scout camping groups.

Coming from the centre of Athens: Take Leoforos Kifissias. Drive past the OTE tower in Maroussi on your left. Drive past the principal entrance to Maroussi on your left. Stay in Leoforos Kifissias until you reach the traffic lights with the sign for the right turn for “Melissia”. You will recognize this location when you see a Germanos store and a Multirama store on your left, a Giannopoulos-Angelopoulos store and a Dits store on your right at this junction. Turn right at the traffic lights and set your odometer to zero. Drive along this main road (Pentelis street) for 0.4 km, until you reach traffic lights (with a Seven video club facing you). Turn left at the traffic lights. Zero your odometer again. You are now in Eucalypton street. Go straight up on this road. After 0.3 km you reach a point where there is a road bending left, a road bending right and a more narrow road going straight. You go straight up. After another 0.3 km, the road bends left at a 90° angle and after another 0.2 km it reaches a T junction. Turn right here and park on the right hand side of this road. You will see the wall of the park on your left, and a small gate which you take to get into the park. We meet just inside the gate.

Coming from the northern suburbs: Get to Nea Erythrea. Find yourself at the junction between Leoforos Kifissias and Charilaou Trikoupi. This is the main crossroads in Nea Erythrea. There are busy traffic lights here, a Shell station, a National Bank and an Alpha Bank. Take Charilaou Trikoupi street and set your odometer to zero. Drive along this road, heading towards Melissia suburb. After several traffic lights and 2.4 km you reach a junction where most cars turn left. You turn left as well (this is P. Bakoyanni street). After another 0.5 km, you reach a roundabout, bearing signs to the airport, where most traffic turns right. You turn right as well. Drive along this road for another 0.2 km and be careful: you have now reached a point where most cars turn left (following signs to Melissia); you go straight. Zero your odometer again here. The road (Dodekanisou) begins to descend. Drive along and soon you will observe the wall of the park on your right hand side. After 0.9 km, you reach a small gate which you take to get into the park. Park your car on the left hand side of this road. We meet just inside the gate.

The Taverna: Lunch will be at the taverna named ‘Plateia’, at the St George square in Melissia, on 17 November street. ‘Plateia’ is behind the church and is recognized by the green colour of its façade. It specializes in several types of souvlaki, kebaps and charcoal dishes. Parking is not easy (you are on a square, after all), so be patient. Regular strollers may remember we had dinner here several times in the past.

How to reach the Taverna: Zero your odometer from outside the gate to the Park. Go north and uphill, along Dodekanisou street (where you have parked). At 0.9 km you reach a crossing with a main road. Go right. You are now in 25 March street, which halfway changes name to C. Karamanli street. Continue straight along this main road, until you reach a T junction at 1.9 km. The square of St George, with the church is in front of you, and the taverna is facing you at the back. Turn left at the T-junction and search for a parking space.

Google Maps: The following map is for those coming from the centre. It takes you from the junction of Kifissias avenue with Pentelis street, to the walk start. But caution: the map misleads you into thinking that you cannot turn left into Eucalypton street (point B to point C), when in fact there are traffic lights there. https://tinyurl.com/4v2cum3

The following map is for those coming from Charilaou Trikoupi street. It takes you from the junction of Kifissias avenue with Charilaou Trikoupi street, to the walk start. https://tinyurl.com/4h4nuj7

The following map takes you from the walk start to the taverna (the T-junction facing the church and taverna). https://tinyurl.com/4mnj5cj